Lori Danella, a resident of Lee’s Summit, has graduated from WGU Missouri with a Master of Science in Management and Leadership after less than a year of enrollment at the fully online, nonprofit university.

While attending WGU Missouri, Danella was working full-time as the Assistant Director of Nutrition for Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, teaching classes for the School Nutrition Association (SNA) and serving on the National Board of the SNA and as the organization’s Midwest Regional Representative, where she was responsible for traveling to eight midwestern states. She enrolled in the master’s degree program at WGU Missouri hoping to expand upon the skills necessary to advance her career. With significant experience in her field and little time to attend classes, WGU Missouri was the perfect fit. The university’s competency-based curriculum, allowed Danella to quickly complete the course work she was already proficient in and master the remaining content at a pace that fit her busy life.

Earning her master’s degree not only paved a path for Danella to advance professionally, it was also a way for her to honor the memory of her youngest son, who died in 2010. He sustained a severe brain injury in an accident in 2007 and battled for three years before he passed away. She vowed to earn a master’s degree in his memory and decided to enroll last year.

“Seeing what my son went through before he passed away gave me the motivation to keep going, even when I was tired or wanted to be doing something else,” Danella said. “I was able to complete my degree in a semester and a half, with WGU Missouri providing incredible support along the way. Now I will be able to grow professionally and be a better and more effective leader.”

WGU Missouri is a competency-based, online university created to expand access to higher education for Missouri residents. The university offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, K-12 teacher education, information technology, and health professions, including nursing. WGU Missouri faculty members provide one-on-one guidance, support, and instruction.

Established through a partnership with nationally recognized Western Governors University, WGU Missouri is open to all qualified Missouri residents. The university is nonprofit and self-sustaining on flat-rate tuition of about $6,000 per year for most programs.

Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*).